People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, Innovation Origins has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.
Name: Beatriz Ramos Vaquero
Country of origin: Spain
Work: engineer and troubleshooter at ASML
“Hello! I’m so sorry, I was on time, but the zipper of my dress broke, and that is not charming at all, certainly when I’m being photographed,” Beatriz apologizes for being a few minutes late while she is cycling towards us on her vintage Peugeot bike. We can imagine she wanted to change, we would do the same thing! With platform heels, red lipstick and stylish outfit, this lady is ready for an interview and a photo shoot. We head to the café of the Parktheater where we take a seat on the terrace.
Beatriz works at ASML and started there four years ago. “When the company I worked for in Spain closed, I saw it as an opportunity for my career. I didn’t speak English very well, so I decided to go to England, work there and learn English. The work part was a bit of a disappointment because of my project getting pushed back several times, so I decided to look around for a better job. I got in contact with ASML thanks to a friend. What a difference, the contact with ASML compared to the company in England! Instead of leading me on, I got an interview and an extensive tour of the company. At the end of the day, the asked ‘When can you start?’. I’m still very happy with my choice to move to Eindhoven although I am reconsidering my stay in the Netherlands due to the governments plans for reducing retrospectively the 30 percent ruling from eight to five years. This is unfair and devastating plan, not only because of the economic impact, roughly a 20 percent drop in my net income, but mainly because I can’t trust the Dutch government anymore. They signed an agreement and it should be respected . #AfspraakIsAfspraak and #ADealIsADeal, the latter is a phrase said by Prime Minister Mark Rutte referring to EU matters, that definitely should apply as well to the national matters,” Beatriz says, getting serious when referring to this matter, a very trending topic at the moment in the expats circles.
A lot of teams of ASML consist of people of different nationalities. Well, the team of Beatriz isn’t that international. “When I started at the company, my team was completely Dutch. Today I have two other non-Dutch colleagues. At first it was difficult, I didn’t speak the language, and honestly, I still don’t. I feel guilty, I should have taken the time to learn Dutch. But in the Netherlands, everybody speaks English too, and that makes it very convenient to communicate in daily life. I didn’t know anybody here when I decided to move. At my goodbye party, one of my friends told me she knew some Dutch people. As it turned out, one of them was a guy who lived in Eindhoven and worked at ASML. This kind of luck always happens to me. He picked me up from the airport and let me stay at his house for a while until I found my own place. He really helped me to get to know the city.”
“The international community in Eindhoven is the best. Everybody is extremely welcoming, invites you to parties and get-togethers. And whatever we need, there is somebody from the international community that will help. At work, I had a more difficult time to adapt. I was the only woman on the team and a non-Dutch speaker. It was an intense experience. Fortunately, everything goes well know. Being a passionate and temperamental little Spanish woman surrounded by big Dutch guys was not easy, but we found the way to make it work!” Beatriz laughs,“When it comes to the life-work balance, the Dutch take really good care of themselves. A lot of people think the Spanish are lazy with the siestas and all, but that is a misconception. Spanish people work long hours for a low salary and don’t have a lot of time off. Here, I learnt to enjoy my free time and my holidays. It seems obvious but unfortunately I don`t go too often to Spain. My family and friends say I take too many days off, that it is impossible that I have so many holidays. They can’t understand it! As a Spanish, I do think we should learn a lot from the Dutch, living here is very enriching and teaching me a lot.”
“In my spare time, I now do what I love most: theatre. I have a creative side, but I was always studying and working. One year ago I started with theatre and improv lessons, and lately I have performed in the story telling play “Dutch dreams” at Parktheater. I also performed improv shows at Pand-P and participated in three short movies in the KinoKabaret Holland 2018. Currently I am preparing in Amsterdam for the play The International Pastime, a dark comedy that will premier in Amsterdam the 5th of October, and I expect we will bring it to Eindhoven too. I’m super excited about it. Again, I am always lucky!”
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel
Read more stories of internationals here.